Dell, HP back Microsoft in Word legal battle

From InfoWorld: Dell and Hewlett-Packard, the world's two largest computer makers, have sided with Microsoft in its appeal of a ban that would block Word sales in the U.S.

The two companies warned that the injunction would ripple through the PC ecosystem, and that without more time to test any Microsoft tweaks, users might lose data.

Dell and HP filed nearly identical amicus curiae , or "friend of the court," briefs earlier this week with the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which is considering Microsoft's request to overturn a Texas court's verdict and quash the injunction that prohibits Microsoft from selling current versions of Word 2003 and Word 2007 after Oct. 10.

Both companies asked the three-judges panel to block the injunction, or failing that, to extend the deadline by four months. "At a minimum, should the injunction be affirmed following the Court's scheduled hearing on Sept. 23, 2009, Hewlett-Packard respectfully requests that the injunction not take effect until 120 days after this Court's decision," HP's brief read.

The computer manufacturers said that if Microsoft was forced to modify Word 2003 and Word 2007 to comply with injunction, they would likewise be required to change the software they factory-install on their new PCs. Many new computers, for example, come with Microsoft's Office, or a trial version of the productivity suite.

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